Editorial: Putting sustainability science to work: assisting the East of England Region to respond to the challenges of climate change

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In May 2006 the Prime Minister made it publicly clear to the incoming Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, David Miliband, that limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases, and dealing with climate change generally, is his top priority.1 Indeed, all policies and institutional arrangements will need to be challenged to achieve the ambition of 60 per cent reduction of carbon dioxide by 2050 (DTI 2003). How may this ambition be delivered sustainably? The UK Sustainable Development Strategy (HM Government 2005) placed an emphasis on the principles and practices of sustainability at all levels of government in the UK. Eventually all of these different levels will be expected to produce sustainable development action plans, beginning with all central government departments, regional administrations and devolved administrations in 2006 (HM Government 2005 2006). The regions have a vital role to play in delivering adequate responses to climate change, both in adapting to its impacts and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Crucial are the Regional Spatial Strategies, since these guide mid-range planning decisions on settlement, transport and energy (see also HM Government 2006). However, it is clear that integrating governance-for-sustainability into emerging regionalism and localism in the UK is still at the embryonic stage (O’Riordan 2004). The UK Sustainable Development Commission (2005) reviewed the regional policy machinery with a view to improving its capability to achieve sustainable development. It proposed that regional sustainable development frameworks should be established at the highest level of integration both for evaluating and progressing sustainability. In its response (HM Government 2006, 17), the Government called for the use of evidence-based scenarios, stakeholder involvement, integrated visions, clear targets, sustainability appraisal techniques and regular monitoring and reporting via independent regional sustainable development round tables.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-105
Number of pages4
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007

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